- Witherspoon Society (main page): Staff Cuts --this seems to be a verbatim reprint of the May 1 PNS news release, but I suspect they will have something to say soon, so check back in a day or so. [UPDATE] The preceding link now contains the text of the May 2 PNS release in which names are attached to the positions.
- The Layman (main page): Budget Proposal: Cut staff by 75, missionaries by 55 -- This includes some interesting figures, with a minimum of editorial comment.
The table printed below is from the Layman article:
Budget Year Mission budget (millions) Declines
Members 2001 $144 2,493,781 2002 $132 8.4% 2,451,969 2003 $130 9.8% 2,405,311 2004 $127 12.0% 2,362,116 2005 $116 19.6% 2,297,116* 2006 $116 19.6% 2,212,116* 2007 $97 32.5% Pct. decline from 2001 2008 $96 33.4% 11.3% *Include declines projectedby the Office of the General Assembly
These figures do not paint a rosy picture for a denomination that has lost 11.3% of its members over the past 5 years, but at the same time seen its budget cut by a percentage three times the loss in members.
John Detterick, the Executive Director of GAC points out that per capita giving to local congregations is rising, and that money is being spent on mission. He sees this as a hopeful sign, and acknowledges that institution trust is something that will have to be rebuilt.
The large-scale reorganization of the Congregational, National, and Worldwide Ministry Divisions seem, on first glance, like a draconian move, but on reflection it probably won't affect how local congregations worship, fellowship, and serve God.
What disturbs me more is the loss, through attrition and possible layoffs, of 55 missionaries -- dropping the remainder to about 250. The first of the Great Ends of the Church is "The Proclamation of the Gospel for the Salvation of Humankind", and these Great Ends comprise the Mission Statement for GAC, according to Mike Kruse's informative analysis of the GAC's budget cuts for 2007 and 2008.
The purpose of the PC(USA) in Louisville, as I see it, is to enable presbyteries and local congregations to be the Church -- even down to the level of two or three gathering together -- or even one person following God's call.